Social Media: The other side story

The first thing each of us does early in the morning is that we check our phones and for a lot of us the last thing that we do before going to the bed is also the same. In fact a survey showed that around 77 percent of the people between the age group of 18-24 reach out to their phones whenever they have little free time and I am probably one of them. Now what is the big deal if we use it? Can it be harmful? Well to make a check I installed an app last week which tracks the usage of the phone and the results were quite frankly astonishing. The app tracked that I spent an hour on chrome,2 hours on whatsapp ,55 minutes on instagram ,2 hrs on facebook ,1 hour on twitter daily. They can actually add upto a pretty big number and when I asked my friends to do a similar test the results were similar. It has been noted that the average attention of a human being has dropped upto 9 seconds only and it is because of a phenomenon called instant gratification and this all happens because of a chemical called dopamine which is released in the brain whenever we experience instant happiness. Here when our phone vibrates on receiving a notification with this we get a bit excited and curious to see. This little curiousness releases the same dopamine in our brain which is also released during drinking alcohol, smoking, taking drugs or gambling.
All such social media applications like Facebook, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Twitter , Instagram have very careful algorithms which ensure that we are hooked to our screens to make a big money through advertising . Sien Parkensen one of the earliest investors in facebook revealed in an interview that “Facebook’s earliest mission was how do it consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible.” He also said we were exploiting the vulnerability of human psychology. We should believe that social media is linked with increased rates of anxiety and depression and poor sleep. It also said that the rate of anxiety and depression had gone up to 70%in the recent past which leads to any possible damage, self harm and sometimes to suicide. Our relation with these applications is not less than like an addiction to a particular drug. Whenever we feel distressed we don’t turn to people any more we don’t want to have friends or families we flip through our phone screen and in this cycle we feel better and we get addicted to it. Many of the times the addiction is driven by numbers, the number of likes, shares, comments, views, and all other things that we get on our stories, pictures, photos and all other posts just keep doing one thing with us ,they just keep buzzing in our head at such a fast speed. When we repeatedly prioritize this instant gratification giving application over long term goals a tug of war situation happens in our mind. Onone hand we have our phones and on the other hand our goals that seek patience, consistence and more importantly discipline. In the war of thoughts we choose our phones which drastically effect our generation of young, talented, hardworking and motivated individuals. China came up with the solution they setup 250 internet addiction treatment camps which are basically military style boot camps where they help the teenagers to get rid from the dangerous internet addiction. We should recognise the internet addiction and its repercussions on our social, physical and mental world. The first step towards making a positive change is spreading awareness among our friends and families and to the people we care the most. And using social networking sites in moderation. We should avoid from keeping our phones in the bedside and instead keep it in the kitchen or in the living room. We need to free ourselves from this addiction of smart phones that is the only way through which we can ever even hope of moving in a good direction we need to free ourselves from shackles of smart phones.
(Author is a freelancer. Views are his own) mudasirdariust@gmail.com.

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